Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Relocation: Definitions of Relocating individual and Relocation

Recently, I was looking through the family law definitions in the Indiana Code. I have written a bit about Indiana's relocation statute (follow the "relocation" label below to find the others), but I am not sure we have take a good look at these definitions.

IC 31-9-2-107.5
"Relocating individual"
Sec. 107.5. "Relocating individual", for purposes of IC 31-17-2.2, means an individual who has or is seeking:
(1) custody of a child; or
(2) parenting time with a child;
and intends to move the individual's principal residence. The term does not include an individual granted visitation rights under IC 31-17-5.
For example, here is IC 31-17-2.2-1:
(a) A relocating individual must file a notice of the intent to move with the clerk of the court that...
You have parenting time and want to relocate, you need to file a notice with the court. You have custody and want to relocate, you need to file a notice with the court.

I take the word "seeking" as meaning having filed a custody or parenting time petition or a divorce petition or a paternity petition. That fits into the following language from IC 31-17-2.2-1(a):
(1) issued the custody order or parenting time order; or
(2) if subdivision (1) does not apply, has jurisdiction over the legal proceedings concerning the custody of or parenting time with a child
The parties excluded from this are grandparents, they can move without filing a notice of relocation.

To date, there is only one published case that mentions this statute: Baxendale. There are two NFP cases that use the exact same quote from Baxendale: Jodie Patrick v. Brian Patrick and Wendy Lyn Carr v. Jeffrey Scott Reagan. See what I have written about Baxendale here and here.

Another statute needing a bit more attention is IC 31-9-2-107.7:
Sec. 107.7. "Relocation", for purposes of IC 31-17-2.2, means a change in the primary residence of an individual for a period of at least sixty (60) days.
As added by P.L.50-2006, SEC.5.
Okay, it does get mentioned in Baxendale. Just in passing to note the tripwire for a relocation case is no longer distance but duration. The Patrick and Carr v. Reagan contain the citation in the same quotes from Baxendale that containing IC 31-9-2-107.5.

This definitions importance lies in limiting the cases that can be filed and I would find it hard to believe a case will turn on this definition. Except for the phrase "change in primary residence" and even my imagination balks at a where that might apply in the real world.

For those wanting to leave the state for less than 60 days, it does give some reassurance that they do not need to file a notice of relocation. (It does give rise to obligations under the Parenting Time Guidelines but that is another matter, another post).

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